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Traffic Deaths Increase by 49%

An average of 1,700 traffic accidents took place each day in China last year, claiming 257 lives, injuring 1,150 and causing direct economic losses of more than 7.3 million yuan (US$880,000) per day, official sources said.

According to the latest statistics from the Traffic Administration of the Ministry of Public Security, China registered 620,000 traffic accidents in 2000, killing 94,000, injuring 420,000 and leading to direct losses of 267 million yuan (US$32 million), up 49 percent, 12 percent, 46 percent and 26 percent respectively from the previous year.

There were 58 extremely serious accidents that killed more than 10 people at once, leading to the deaths of 910 people in total and hurting 960 people, up 3.6 percent, 2 percent and 12.4 percent respectively. The number of accidents involving passenger transportation vehicles went down by 7.6 percent last year.

Drivers of motor vehicles are responsible for 84 percent of all traffic accidents, 67 percent of all traffic deaths, 83 percent of all traffic injuries and 89 percent of economic losses.

Drivers who cause traffic accidents are mostly new drivers with less than three years' driving experience.

Speeding, negligence, failure to adjust to unexpected traffic situations, failure to give pedestrians right-of-way and driving in the wrong lanes are regarded as the five major causes of traffic accidents.

Last year saw a 34 percent rise in the number of drivers who fled the scene after causing accidents, with the total number surpassing 17,000.

Statistics from the authorities indicate that nearly 61 percent of all accidents happened on highways.

The number of accidents on expressways continued to increase as a result of bad weather, including fogs, according to the statistics.

The Ministry of Public Security will strengthen measures to prevent traffic accidents this year.

(China Daily 04/04/2001)

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